Govt accelerates its fight against gender-based violence

― launches Guyana Women’s Health and Life Experience Survey Report

DPI, Guyana, Wednesday, November 13, 2019

The Government of Guyana has increased its efforts to eradicate the devastating habit of Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) as it continues to partner with stakeholders.

With support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), UN Women, University of Guyana and Global Women’s Institute, the Ministry of Social Protection officially launched the Guyana Women’s Health and Life Experience Survey Report, at the Cara Lodge Hotel, on Wednesday.

The study includes a comprehensive quantitative survey and an in-depth qualitative study comprised of focus group discussions and interviews with victims and key stakeholders. This quantitative survey adapted the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) global model for assessing the prevalence of intimate partner violence, with a specific focus on women as the most affected group in a local context.

This achievement is deemed as an important milestone towards eliminating VAWG in Guyana and has provided much-needed evidence to inform decision-making and advocacy at various levels.

In her keynote address, Minister of Social Protection, Hon. Amna Ally said the report proves that there is a clear need to improve efforts across a range of sectors, both to prevent violence from occurring, and to provide necessary services for women experiencing violence.

“For the first time, a study sought to obtain detailed information nationwide about the prevalence, frequencies and types of violence against women, looking at the health outcomes of domestic violence – the factors that may protect or put women at risk of domestic violence and showing coping strategies and services that women use to deal with domestic violence.”

Minister Ally highlighted that according to the study, 25% supported violence between partners as being a private matter. Many women said before the survey interviews; they had never told anyone about instances of abuse by their husbands.

The minister underscored that the report highlights the urgency of breaking the silence.

“All of us owe it to the women who suffer from domestic violence, and the women who took part in this survey, to step up, speak out and end the violence now,” she added. 

The Social Protection Minister said she hopes that the new initiative will serve as a unified call to action for all working towards building a nation without violence against women and girls.

“The Government of Guyana remains committed to addressing the root causes of gender inequality as a way of empowering girls and women now and in the future, enabling them to have a voice, choice and control over their lives,” said Minister Ally.

Those attending the historic occasion also heard remarks from the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Social Protection, Lorene Baird, Chief Operating Officer of IDB, Lorena Solorzano, Canadian High Commissioner to Guyana, Her Excellency, Lilian Chatterjee, Business Development and Results Management Analyst at UNDP Guyana, Andrea Health-London and Representative of UN Women Multi-Country Office – Caribbean, Alison McLean.

Ambassador Chatterjee said she is optimistic with the level of work being done in Guyana towards eradicating gender-based violence, and cited that she is proud of the role her country plays in contributing to the collective efforts towards a better future of Guyanese women and girls.

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